3 Powerful Reasons to Avoid Using Worksheets in Math

There are a lot of math programs available out there to choose from. All have some great qualities, but if you're choosing something based solely on worksheets, you might be shortchanging yourself. Here are three powerful reasons to avoid using worksheets in math.

Photo of guided math centers with text, "3 Powerful Reasons to Avoid Using Worksheets in Math."

Before I continue, let me say that worksheets have a place. They can be a simple way of collecting data on what your students can or cannot do, and they are easy. Let's face it, stopping at the photocopier is easy, right? So, why avoid worksheets?

Worksheets In Math Mean Constant Photocopying

If your math program is based mainly on worksheets, you will constantly be preparing activities for your lessons. Every day, you'll need to copy one or more pages for your students to work on. If you're carefully differentiating to meet the needs of all your students (and you should be!), you may have three or more groups, all requiring different pages to work from. 

This is a waste of your time and paper.

By choosing a math program based on hands-on centers, you spend a chunk of time preparing the centers once, and if you take the time to do it smartly, you have them forever! Prep them once, and you're done!

Photo of guided math centers and math manipulatives.

Limited Use

When you teach with worksheets, you use a page once, and then you're done. But, what if the students don't master the skill or concept after one worksheet? Are you going to hunt down another activity for them to use until they get it? 

Centers provide your students with the opportunity to engage with a topic repeatedly. They will progress and eventually master the goals of the program! With open tasks and games, your students are never actually finished with a task.

While worksheets are once and done, centers can be used:

  • during regular math rotations
  • as extension activities
  • for remedial work
  • as early finisher activities
  • during indoor recesses

Photo of guided math centers and math manipulatives.

Student Engagement

When is the last time you saw your students get really excited to complete a worksheet? Okay, a paper activity may really engage them from time to time, but is that engagement consistent?

What makes our students excited to learn and what they learn best from are varied hands-on activities where they can actively engage with the math content instead of passively answering questions.

Games, puzzles, cards, matching activities, using math manipulatives in meaningful ways. These are the things that make students love math.

Photo of guided math centers.

Hands-on centers appeal to different learning styles and make the learning more accessible to your students, particularly those who struggle.

Worksheets are part of most math classrooms, but take the time to ask yourself if they should form the foundation of your program. Consider the alternatives. You can do better.

If you'd like to try some engaging hands-on centers for free, I have a Guided Math Quick-Start Guide available just for you here:

If you're ready to get started with a quality Guided Math program based on hands-on experiences, these centers, available in English and French, are a perfect place to start!

If you're interested in learning more about a Guided Math program, you will want to check out this post next:

Photo of chalkboard with chalk and brush with text, "The Best Reasons for Using Guided Math in Your Classroom"

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it with friends and colleagues on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest:

Photo of guided math centers with text, "3 Powerful Reasons to Avoid Using Worksheets in Math."

No comments

Connect with me!! I love reading your comments and will respond as soon as I can!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.